Many restaurants neglected to implement online ordering until COVID-19 made it a necessity. Right now, online ordering is one of the safest ways a restaurant can serve customers because it involves little to no human contact. However, quickly switching to an online ordering system has been a challenge for many businesses.
Forty-seven percent of restaurants find the transition to offering online delivery as a big challenge during COVID-19, according to a survey by Upserve. That insight is especially true for upscale and fine dining establishments.
Here are some of the top challenges restaurants experience when selling online.
1. Third-party Delivery Partners
Third-party delivery companies like Doordash, UberEats, or GrubHub are booming as many restaurants turn to the Internet for survival. And with dine-in no longer preferred, restauranteurs must ensure delivery covers a large geographical area. That’s one of the things third-party delivery services help restaurants do – ensure the widest coverage area as possible.
However, many restaurants find the partnership with delivery organizations bittersweet at best. Third-party services charge a hefty fee (around 15 to 30 percent commission), and the restaurant gets no control over who’s working delivery.
Major restaurant chains address the challenges of working with delivery partners by bringing the service in-house. Others have increased prices to account for fees.
Another problem restaurants face is the logistics involved with offering a delivery service. For instance, most restaurants will have to invest in more suitable delivery or takeout containers. Nobody wants to pay for food that won’t arrive fresh and hot.
Additionally, some customers will prefer to order online but pick up at the establishment. Therefore, restaurants have to manage in-store activity in a way that satisfies pandemic safety guidelines. Even kitchen operations are liable to change, so a restaurant can better deal with the volume of online orders it receives.
Consider dedicating specific teams for the drive-thru, in-store pickup, and online orders.
3. Technological Challenges
The expense involved with the technological integrations that make online ordering possible can be hard to justify for some restauranteurs – especially when many are worried about the future. Nevertheless, the investment is crucial; safe online ordering and delivery are not possible without technology.
Plus, the right online ordering solution does more than take orders and accept payments. These systems typically have additional features, such as rekeying prevention, POS integration, analytics, customer data backup, and other essentials.
“Restaurants continue to experience challenges with implementation. Many have barely any or zero experience with online ordering systems, websites, and other technical solutions” – Zorbas Family Dining, a restaurant in Clinton Township, MI.
4. Labor Increase
Online orders can throw kitchen staff off routine since, for many, it’ll be a new addition to day-to-day operations. And whenever online delivery is implemented, restaurants typically experience an increase in daily order volume.
The same study mentioned earlier found that many establishments have seen a 782.7 percent increase in online sales since the pandemic. Therefore, managers will need more employees to deal with the volume of orders. That also means managing the kitchen to avoid congestion during a pandemic is going to be trickier.
Online ordering has been around for a long time. These systems are convenient for customers and allow restaurants to collect additional guest data. At first, it may be challenging to get your restaurant set up, but well worth it. Good luck.